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Dallas Stars Daily Links: Stephen Johns Opens Up About A Rollercoaster Season

The young blueliner knows “how much harder I’m going to have to work to stay here.” Plus, more from the playoffs, and everything you need to know about Dart Guy.

NHL: Dallas Stars at Toronto Maple Leafs Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

As Dallas Stars fans ponder this year’s long offseason, much of the discussion circles back to which players will receive the few available protection spots for the upcoming NHL expansion draft.

Defender Stephen Johns is up for one of them, and he has competition – much of it potentially coming from his fellow blueliner and housemate, Jamie Oleksiak. Johns talked with Jasper Wilson of The Beaver County (PA) Times about the whirlwind that’s engulfed him in Dallas since his 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs debut:

“There (were) a lot of question marks in the air,” said Johns, a Wampum native. “To get that confidence coming into this year, I felt a lot more comfortable with my level of play and where I fit in the team.”

He also shared the struggles that hit him and the team during a star-crossed 2016-17, including the healthy scratches:

The experience was a foreign one for Johns. He couldn’t remember sitting much when he was able to play during his time in juniors, in college at Notre Dame and the past few seasons in the AHL.

“It’s tough to look yourself in the mirror sometimes and tell yourself you’ve got to be better,” Johns said. “But it’s what you’ve got to do.”

You can read more at Johns’ hometown paper. [The Beaver County Times]

Head coach Ken Hitchcock is jumping straight into the Stars’ social-media outreach: He’s doing a @DallasStars Twitter takeover today at noon Central time. Use #AskHitch to send him your questions.

Last night, in Stanley Cup Playoffs Stuff:

Did the Pens score last night’s game-tying goal on a Rule 8.1 violation? Greg Wyshynski talks about the play that left CBJ defender Zach Werenski collapsed and bleeding on the ice, and why the whistle never came.

Wild coach Bruce Boudreau abruptly left a postgame press conference during an apparently innocuous question. Is he just frustrated at a potential sweep, or was there method to his madness? [Puck Daddy]

Meanwhile, Stars announcer Jeff K has a nice hot cup of Schadenfreude for the morning commute.

Maj. Patrick Eaves is getting his due as a trade-deadline acquisition who’s delivered even more than anticipated.

And where do mid-season trades figure into the making of a Cup-winning team? Matt Larkin looks at factors like star power, possession game and team size to figure it out.

As the ECHL’s 2017 Kelly Cup playoffs pick up steam, the Stars-affiliate Idaho Steelheads are tied 1-1 in their Mountain Division Semifinal series with the Colorado Eagles (Colorado Avalanche). Read more about how goalies Landon Bow and Branden Komm have helped the team get here. [Idaho Steelheads]

Meanwhile, Ben Wilson of the Kalamazoo Wings (Tampa Bay Lightning) drew 17 PIMs, a game misconduct, and (almost certainly) a long suspension after cross-checking fallen Toledo Walleye (Detroit Red Wings) defenseman Simon Denis seven (7) times. [Puck Daddy]

Closer to home, the Allen Americans (San Jose Sharks) are tied 1-1 in their series with the Utah Grizzlies (Anaheim Ducks) after a 4-1 loss at home last night.

Finally: Jason Maslakow – now meme-famous as Dart Guy – is the Toronto Maple Leafs fan other Leafs fans need. Enjoy.